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Editorial: This is your president, everybody


Friday, July 28, 2017

Before we weigh in on the president’s moronic tweet storm about transgender people serving in the military, we feel obligated to mention that Donald Trump is a terrible person.

We don’t say that because we disagree with most of his policy positions, which we do, or because he has made this country a global punchline, which he has, but because if he was somebody with whom we had personal contact on a daily basis, we are certain we would despise him with every ounce of our being. You would, too, Trump supporters.

If you doubt that to be true, imagine that Trump is a co-worker or acquaintance rather than your president.

At first you find him to be a breath of fresh air. He says exactly what’s on his mind without fear of offending someone. He has a pretty wife and pretty children, and financially has done pretty well for himself.

But you also notice he can be cruel. He makes inappropriate jokes about your spouse and daughter, and mocks the disabled child in the neighborhood who delivers your newspaper every morning with a wave and a smile. He also lies more often than he tells the truth, and so you are not surprised when he says he will gladly give you a ride to work but then doesn’t show up. You are even less surprised when he denies that the conversation about the ride ever took place.

All of that’s bad enough, but when you finally decide to call him on his lies, unethical behavior and cruelty, he becomes angry and vows to destroy your life. He tells your spouse that you are having an affair and that he has tapes to prove it, which of course he doesn’t because the affair never happened. He sends a tweet to your boss suggesting in a cryptic way that you are stealing from the company. He even calls for a boycott of a small shop owned by your grandparents. 

You expect he will back off once his rage subsides and he realizes the damage he is doing, but that never happens. Months later he is still at it, to the detriment of himself and everyone around him.

That’s your president, folks.

Now about that Twitter announcement regarding transgender people in the military. Here’s what Trump wrote: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

First of all, as has been widely reported, Defense Secretary James Mattis was blindsided by Trump’s tweets. In fact, the New York Times reported that Mattis was appalled that Trump would send a message to the thousands of transgender service members on active duty that they are no longer welcome in the military.

As for the “tremendous medical costs,” a 2016 study commissioned by the Pentagon found that the increased health care costs of allowing transgender people to serve would be $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year. For the sake of comparison, the Department of Defense spent more than $84 million on erectile dysfunction prescriptions in 2014.

Perhaps Trump should also familiarize himself with the position stated by one of his generals, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Paul Selva, during his recent confirmation hearing: “I am an advocate of every qualified person who can meet the physical standards to serve in our uniformed services to be able to do so.”

If Trump was a better person, he would agree.